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Guardiola's 15-Pass Rule


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I read this and thought it was quite interesting as a lot of Dees (myself included) sometimes get frustrated at our players making sideways passes that don't lead directly to chances.

Guardiola says...

"If there isn't a sequence of 15 passes first, it's impossible to carry out the transition between defence & attack. Impossible.
 
"Having the ball is important if you are going for 15 consecutive passes in the middle of the field in order to maintain your shape, whilst at the same time upsetting the opposition's organisation. How do you disorganise them? With fast ,tight, focused passing as a part of this 15-move sequence. You need most of your men working as a unit, although some of them will need to maintain a bit of distance from each other in order to stretch out the rival team. And whilst you make those 15 moves & organise yourselves, your opposnents are chasing you all over the park, trying to get the ball from you. In the process, without realising it, they'll have lost all organisation.
 
"If you lose the ball, if they get it off you, then the player who takes will probably be alone & surrounded by your players, who will then get it back easily or, at the very least ensure that the rival team cant manoeuvre quickly.It's these 15 passes that prevent your rival from making any kind of co-ordinated transition."
 
Does Guardiola have a point? Is keeping possession and gradually working up to creating a chance the best way to win a game, or is this kind of deep thinking not really that important when talking about Scottish league football, where we're less sophisticated about our football and not playing at the very highest level?
 
The reason I posted this was because in Scotland we often think of retaining possession as a waste of time if it doesn't lead to a chance. Guardiola clearly sees things differently and it made me think that maybe he's on to something about unsettling the opposition.
 
Maybe Guardiola is so used to working with world class players that he can employ tactics that are irrelevant to the likes of Dundee. I'm not sure, but thought his comments were worth sharing.
Edited by Cobra
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I honestly prefer that type of possession based football, but I can understand those who would prefer a more direct style. Football is all about opinions I suppose! As much as I'd love to see Dundee playing this way, I think you're right - right now there isn't a team in Scotland that is capable of playing this way consistently. I'd also suggest that until we can produce players who are comfortable playing this way (not necessarily playing this way, but having the technical ability to retain possession), we'll struggle to get anywhere on the international stage. It seems to be the way the game is heading.

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Good post an-dee. My understanding of tactics is not very advanced so I'm not in a position to lecture Hartley and other Scottish managers, but I do find it interesting to read comments from the world's best managers about how they do things. Guardiola's suggestion that a quick 10-15 passes destroys the opposition's shape is quite interesting. Hadn't thought of that before.

On a related note, Mourinho said recently, "if you don’t have a minimum of five tall players good in the air, you are dead on set-pieces". Can we claim to have five tall players good in the air? Probably not, but then we're not trying to win the Champions League. Again, that might be more something for Celtic to worry about that us given that they hopelessly exposed at set pieces in Europe, as we're rarely up against top class sides.

Edited by Cobra
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Could you imagine punters in the Derry and on here if we had the audacity to keep the ball in midfield for 15 passes? Of course, let's not forget we'd have to be allowed a transition where things wouldn't work and things would go wrong (which would see its demise because 'how do we not just punt it' and 'stop the fannying about and get it clear' brigadiers).

We'll never move on in this country, mainly because the folk who scream route one at the football on a Saturday to the professionals, are the boys coaching youngsters learning from a young age.

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Pep's Bayern Munich side absoloutely dominated possession against Arsenal the other night. They had 73% possession and completed 765 passes compared to 278 for Arsenal. Arsenal won the match 2-0 however and proved there is more than one way to skin a cat.

I've always found the most impressive aspect of Guardiola's teams to be how quickly they win the ball back from the opposition when they lose it. They never give any team a second to regain any sort of composure or to get into any sort of ascendency. In that regard, his philosophy of having his team in the shape that he wants works for the vast majority of games. Usually, they're supremacy with possession of the ball will also give them the platform to go on and win a game (quite comfortably) as well.

There's no doubt that his style wins games. I'd bet that on most other nights, Bayern would have beaten Arsenal by at least a couple of goals. Their downfall came from individual errors at an Arsenal set-piece.

The key ingredient to his approach appears to be: You MUST have a full squad of players who posses the skill and the will to play that way at all times.

In Scotland we don't have either the skill of player or more importantly the will from a coach to pull this off. We are famed for producing tremendous man managers in Scotland but it's not in our blood to develop and stay true to a tactical philosophy that we are not comfortable with. Our great managers can get the best out of a group of players playing the way in which they feel comfortable. I've never seen a Fergie, Stein or Shankly team dominate possession and win the ball back so quickly as one of Pep's teams (Shankly probably came the closest with his great Liverpool sides)

Guardiola's philosophy doesn't always work. They can come unstuck if the opposition can defend as a team superbly for 90 minutes and hit on the break quickly and effectively (as Arsenal did on Tuesday). Having said that, most teams crumble because they can't cope with the constant pressure.

Pep's a genius in my eyes.

Edit - Scottish teams inability to set up this way and devote themselves to this philosophy is also a result of the stacked deck that is the Old Firm in our game.

Our league teams have spent decades being drilled on organisation and clearing the ball up the park away from danger as opposed to building from the back, retaining shape and playing passes that "appear" to be futile.

You can see PH has an understanding of this but equally, he feels the pressure and necessity to switch to a more traditionally Scottish and direct style if his team are not producing the goods.

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I don't think I am going off topic here Cobra, but is it not all about the quality of the individual players and their adaptability as individuals and within a team sysytem/setting ?

Like yourself, I am not specifically criticising PH and DFC team, because it is a gradual process to be able to procure the players required, within a limited budget. Looking at DFC just now and the players we have, it appears to me on the attacking front we are definitely getting there .....I think PH knows himself the defence still needs working on.

In an ideal world we would have eleven skilled, professional players on the park, who could adapt to any system.

And if/when that time arrives, I think most of us would be happy to watch them adapt to any working system.

Until we have a full quality team on the park, (we're getting there) any planned systems will break down.

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You've got to mix it up IMO.

Love seeing us knock it around on the deck making the opposition chase us when we are comfortably winning eg in the 3-1 Dens derby earlier this year when we were putting together 20 odd 1 touch pass moves on the deck after 80 minutes humiliating the opposition.

Absolutely hate when we sit in deep and pass it around our back 4 or in our own half going nowhere when we are losing a game or drawing a game, particularly in the second half. Something that Hartley's team do a lot at Dens unfortunately.

Get down the flanks and balls delivered into the box when trying to get in front of the game.

Knock it about on the deck keeping possession until the cows come home when winning a game.

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The difference for me is that top teams who play this possesion game move the ball with pace. There is a purpose and a tempo to this passing. When we do it, it is slow and laboured at times. Pace and a high tempo while passing are what kill teams, not the passing itself.

Exactly this. To play the passing game, boys need to know how to play a decent pass and how to move. Passing for the sake of passing will get you no where.

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You've got to mix it up IMO.

Love seeing us knock it around on the deck making the opposition chase us when we are comfortably winning eg in the 3-1 Dens derby earlier this year when we were putting together 20 odd 1 touch pass moves on the deck after 80 minutes humiliating the opposition.

Absolutely hate when we sit in deep and pass it around our back 4 or in our own half going nowhere when we are losing a game or drawing a game, particularly in the second half. Something that Hartley's team do a lot at Dens unfortunately.

Get down the flanks and balls delivered into the box when trying to get in front of the game.

Knock it about on the deck keeping possession until the cows come home when winning a game

Exactly this. To play the passing game, boys need to know how to play a decent pass and how to move. Passing for the sake of passing will get you no where.

That I do agree with Abdul.  They must have the skill and ability in the first place.    As you point out, have a plan and purpose behind it....no jist for the sake o' it.

Going back to DFC and PH. I'd like to think  (hope) they do have a plan in mind, and are in the process of building up a squad of players as a step towards this.

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The difference for me is that top teams who play this possesion game move the ball with pace. There is a purpose and a tempo to this passing. When we do it, it is slow and laboured at times. Pace and a high tempo while passing are what kill teams, not the passing itself.

This is the exact reason why McBride was so poor at Dens. Yes he could keep the ball but he killed the game in an attacking sense time and time again.

Might be harsh bringing him up but Christ he was brutal.

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